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Financial Markets and Planning

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Financial Markets and Planning sector, which is one component of the Financial Services industry, and includes financial markets operations, financial planning and financial licensing management.

Financial markets provide opportunities for Australians and overseas investors to increase their wealth. Types of financial markets include over-the-counter markets, exchange traded markets, as well as debt, and currency and commodity markets. Financial planners and advisers assist Australians to manage their wealth effectively across their lifetime. This includes setting financial objectives with clients, developing strategies to achieve these objectives, and arranging for specific plans to be executed.

Nationally recognised training for Financial Markets and Planning is delivered under the FNS – Financial Services Training Package.

For information on other financial services, see the Financial Services cluster page.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Due to the absence of detailed employment trend information for this sector as a whole, two relevant occupations have been used in order to assess employment levels, Financial Brokers and Financial Investment Advisers and Managers.

The employment level for Financial Brokers grew overall between 2001 and 2021. Employment peaked in 2019 at 36,800 and declined to 34,900 in 2021. It is projected to increase to 35,500 by 2025. The trend for Financial Investment Advisers and Managers was variable between 2001 and 2021. Employment peaked in 2020 at 55,400 before declining to 54,600 in 2021. It is projected to increase to 55,500 by 2025.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Financial Markets and Planning-related qualifications fell each year between 2016 and 2020. Enrolments peaked in 2016 at approximately 12,210 and in 2020 there were 2,840. Program completions fell each year between 2017 and 2020. Completions peaked in 2017 at approximately 4,350 and in 2020 there were around 1,140. In 2020, all training in this sector took place at the diploma or higher level, with the most common qualification being the Diploma of Financial Planning. The majority of students in this sector had an intended occupation of Financial Investment Adviser (88%).

In 2020, the vast majority of Financial Markets and Planning-related qualifications were delivered by private training providers (94%), and most subjects were funded through domestic fee for service (78%). New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland had the highest proportion of students enrolled in Financial Markets and Planning-related qualifications, at 32%, 27% and 18% respectively.

The majority of training was delivered in Victoria (54%) and New South Wales (44%).

There were insufficient enrolments in apprenticeships or traineeships to allow analysis.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry group or training package, visit NCVER's Data Builder.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

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Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the Financial Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, financial planning and advice is expected to grow through increased demand from older Australians seeking financial advice in their retirement. Demographic changes will shape the financial planning and advice sector by:

  • Increasing demand for financial advice from superannuates, as growing post-retirement wealth creates a greater incentive to seek professional financial advice. The ability to assist clients through the potential emotional and psychological stress of retirement will be crucial.
  • Responding to advice in product growth areas such as ethical investments and property. Demand for ethical and responsible investments has more than quadrupled over the past three years, with 92% of Australians expecting their superannuation or other investments to be invested responsibly and ethically. The strong demand for property is driving demand for mortgage brokers and general insurers, in addition to financial advisers.

The above Skills Forecast also highlights the impact of increased regulation on the future of financial advice. New legislation has introduced higher minimum education requirements for new advisers effective 1 January 2019, and existing advisers effective 1 January 2026, with the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) appointed by the Minister to deliver the detail. These changes are expected to have a large impact on the financial planning sub-sector in the short to medium term. FASEA’s Education Standard sets out the following:

  • New entrants to financial advising are required to have completed an approved degree (24 subjects at AQF7), or an approved Graduate Diploma (AQF8) or approved Masters Degree (AQF9) from 1 January 2019.
  • Existing advisers with an approved degree are required to complete a Bridging Course (1 subject – the FASEA Code of Ethics at AQF8) by no later than 1 January 2026.
  • Existing advisers with a relevant degree (as defined by FASEA) are required to complete a Bridging Course (3 subjects at AQF8 and 1 FASEA approved subject) by no later than 1 January 2026. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is available for up to 6 units and bridging course subjects are available.
  • Existing advisers with a non-relevant degree are required to complete an approved Graduate Diploma (7 subjects at AQF8) by no later than 1 January 2026. RPL is available for up to 6 units and bridging course subjects are available.
  • Existing advisers with no degree are required to complete an approved Graduate Diploma (8 subjects at AQF8) OR another approved qualification (Bachelor Degree (AQF7) or Masters Degree (AQF9)) by no later than 1 January 2026. RPL is available for up to 6 units and bridging course subjects are available.

The Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) report The Future of Advice: Overcoming Challenges to Deliver Great Consumer Outcomes, argues that in a world of rapid demographic, technology and regulatory change, the future is positive for financial advisers. Expert advice is the cornerstone of effective decision-making. Given the impacts of an ageing population, retirement savings, and ongoing concerns around financial literacy, now more than ever everyday Australians need access to affordable, quality advice.

Key findings of the report include:

  • There will be an increasing number of older and wealthier people seeking financial advice in the future.
  • Technology will play a major role in advice, but many people still want face-to-face contact and a trusted adviser.
  • People want increasingly personalised advice that is more transparent. Advice in this form is more likely to increase trust in the adviser as well as lead to good consumer outcomes.

The paper A Smart Brain and Warm Heart: How Should We Educate Financial Planners?, argues that the financial planning sector has endured almost two decades of constantly shifting education standards which is largely attributed to numerous examples of malpractice involving financial planners. It is supposed that pursuing high education standards, even if they are not synonymous with ethical standards, will nonetheless improve the quality of financial advice and instil much needed trust into the sector. This paper focuses on current education standards and probes the underlying institutional programs that are entrusted with lifting the education and professionalism of Australia's financial planners.

The authors of the article Ethics in Financial Planning: Analysis of Ombudsman Decisions Using Codes of Ethics and Fiduciary Duty Standards, analysed 212 financial ombudsman decisions (2013–2018) to understand the nature of financial planning misconduct in complaint decisions. Diligence, acting in the client's best interest and having no reasonable basis for advice are interconnected elements in over half of these decisions. Secondary elements are misleading statements, conflicts of interest and disclosure. Analysis of decisions involving fiduciary duty showed that financial planners failed to ascertain a client's circumstances and did not form advice based on their client's information. The authors argue that as financial planning professionalises, financial planning education, policy and practice should address these issues.

The objective of the Australian Financial Markets Association’s Framework for Industry Conduct Training is to assist participants in Australia's wholesale banking and financial markets to enhance the professionalism of staff through designing and implementing effective conduct employee training programs. Conduct training is training in ethics and compliance-related topics that is designed to minimise the risk for an organisation of becoming involved in practices that contravene laws, industry standards and organisational values. Hence, the purpose of conduct training is to influence and guide the behaviour of staff.

The Financial Planners and Advisers Code of Ethics 2019 Guide by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) was updated in October 2020. The Code requires financial advisers to act in a way that demonstrates, realises and promotes the following five values: trustworthiness, competence, honesty, fairness and diligence.

Gender inequality and occupational segregation in Australian financial services present a stark disparity, with men working as financial planners and women being over-represented in lower-paid administrative positions, according to the authors of Occupational Boundaries: Gender Capital and Career Progression in the Financial Planning Industry. The article uses a gender capital theoretical framework to examine gender segregation between financial planning and paraplanning occupations. Analysis of interviews with 26 financial professionals suggested that masculine capital, including confidence and persuasive soft skills, marked success as a financial planner. Feminine capital, including organisational skills, was aligned with the role of paraplanner. These findings contribute a new perspective on why gender segregation occurs in financial planning and bear relevance as financial planning professionalises.

The article The Hayne Royal Commission and Financial Planning Advice: A Review of the Impact on the Operating Model of Financial Advice Firms, examines the changes in operating models of financial planning businesses post the Hayne Royal Commission. The authors argue that the recommendations of the Royal Commission are likely to accelerate the adoption of digital operating models including robo-advice and digital delivery to mass customers. A digital advice operating model will enable advisers to meet compliance and regulatory obligations more easily, to reach new and more diverse customers living in different geographical locations faster, and to significantly reduce the operating cost of advice provision.

The National Skills Commission’s Skills Priority List: June 2021, lists the occupations of Financial Investment Adviser, Financial Investment Manager and Finance Manager as having ‘Strong’ future demand and Financial Market Dealer and Finance Broker as having ‘Moderate’ future demand. Research has not identified any significant difficulty filling vacancies for these occupations across Australia, except in New South Wales where there is a shortage of Financial Investment Managers and Finance Brokers.

COVID-19 impact

According to IBISWorld’s Financial Planning and Investment Advice in Australia: Market Research Report, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have mixed effects on operators in the financial planning and investment advice sector. For example, some consumers may view financial planning services as discretionary spending and forgo these services during times of economic uncertainty. However, other financial planners, particularly those that provide online and phone consultations for a fixed fee, are likely to experience higher demand for financial advice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The financial impacts from COVID-19 were significant and far reaching. KPMG’s report Post-COVID-19: Insurance and Wealth Sector Consumer Trends, presents the results from their mid-2020 survey of consumers around the world, including Australia. The survey found that the pre-COVID-19 trend towards increased online access to financial planning services has accelerated during the shutdown, with consumers of all ages increasingly seeing digital as the ‘new normal’. There is, however, a clear generational divide with most under-40s believing digital leads to better quality engagement while just 29% of over-65s agree. The research found that those who use financial planners see value, but the majority will not pay for the service.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant research, organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Financial markets and planning IRC

 

Relevant research

A Smart Brain and Warm Heart: How Should We Educate Financial Planners? – Thomas Hendry

Education Standard Commenced 1 January 2019 – Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority

Ethics in Financial Planning: Analysis of Ombudsman Decisions Using Codes of Ethics and Fiduciary Duty Standards – Australian Journal of Management, 2021 (pre-print article) – Daniel W. Richards, Abdullahi D. Ahmed and Kenneth Bruce

Financial Planners and Advisers Code of Ethics 2019 Guide – Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority

Financial Planning and Investment Advice in Australia: Market Research Report – IBISWorld

Framework for Industry Conduct Training – Australian Financial Markets Association

Occupational Boundaries: Gender Capital and Career Progression in the Financial Planning Industry – Financial Planning Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, June 2021 – Monica O'Dwyer and Daniel W. Richards

Post-COVID-19: Insurance and Wealth Sector Consumer Trends – KPMG

Skills Priority List: June 2021 – National Skills Commission

The Future of Advice: Overcoming Challenges to Deliver Great Consumer Outcomes – Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

The Hayne Royal Commission and Financial Planning Advice: A Review of the Impact on the Operating Model of Financial Advice Firms – Financial Planning Research Journal, Volume 6, Issue 1, 2020 – Mohammad Abu-Taleb, Afzalur Rashid and Syed Shams

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Association of Financial Advisers (AFA)

Association of Independently Owned Financial Professionals (AIOFP)

Australian Financial Markets Association (AFMA)

Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA)

Independent Financial Advisers Australia (IFA-AUST)

Profession of Independent Financial Advisers (PIFA)

 

Employee associations

Finance Sector Union (FSU)

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2025
    • Financial Brokers
    • Financial Investment Advisers and Managers.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, Employed persons by occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 August 2021
https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021/EQ08.xlsx

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4 digit Financial Brokers, and Financial Investments Advisers and Managers, 2001 to 2021, May Quarter.

 

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • FNS Financial Services Training Package
    • FNS41110 - Certificate IV in Financial Markets Operations
    • FNS41115 - Certificate IV in Financial Markets Operations
    • FNS51011 - Diploma of Financial Markets
    • FNS51015 - Diploma of Financial Markets
    • FNS51020 - Diploma of Financial Markets
    • FNS50610 - Diploma of Financial Planning
    • FNS50611 - Diploma of Financial Planning
    • FNS50615 - Diploma of Financial Planning
    • FNS50804 - Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning)
    • FNS60711 - Advanced Diploma of Financial Licensing Management
    • FNS60715 - Advanced Diploma of Financial Licensing Management
    • FNS60720 - Advanced Diploma of Financial Licensing Management
    • FNS60410 - Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning
    • FNS60415 - Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning
    • FNS60404 - Advanced Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning)
    • FNS60920 - Advanced Diploma of Paraplanning.

 

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 program completions.

 

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

FNS Financial Services Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions

apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Updated: 25 Oct 2021
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